Karnataka: Central govt pinching state on MGNREGA funds, says Congress

Forest Minister Eshwar Khandre accused the Union government of step motherly treatment towards the state.
Labourers work at a construction site under the MGNREGA scheme.
Labourers work at a construction site under the MGNREGA scheme.(File Photo | PTI)

BENGALURU: In the backdrop of the tussle between the Centre and Karnataka over the state not receiving its due share of Central funds, state Congress leaders on Monday took up the “step motherly treatment” in allocation of MNREGA funds.

Minister Priyank Kharge on Monday tweeted, ‘’Central Government has been highly inconsistent in paying MGNREGA wages to states regularly. Their lethargy and bad financial planning for the scheme is hurting the labour. People are migrating and don’t want to participate in MGNREGA as they are unsure when they will be paid for their work. The wage pendency for Karnataka stands at Rs 676 Cr.’’

Other Karnataka Congress leaders too joined in the chorus. Former Congress Rajya Sabha MP Prof Rajeev Gowda told TNIE that by behaving in this manner, the Central government is hurting the poorest of the poor. “MGNREGA is a safety net and if the funds are not available for this then the poorest of the poor will suffer. Surely, this is not the way any Union government that claims to have compassion for the poor should behave.’’  

Forest Minister Eshwar Khandre accused the Union government of step motherly treatment towards the state. “Injustice was meted to Karnataka in the 15th Finance Commission. If we compare Karnataka to BJP-ruled Gujarat, the step motherly treatment as regards flow of funds from the Centre is obvious. Karnataka’s key projects like Mahadayi, Mekedatu and others need funds. Why is the Union government not giving the necessary permissions and funds?” he said.

For drought- and flood-relief, the Union government has failed to come to aid of Karnataka, he pointed out. 

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his ministers had protested in New Delhi about three weeks ago pointing out that injustice was being meted to Karnataka which contributes almost Rs 4 lakh crore to the Centre, but gets a mere Rs 50,000 crore back from them. Opposition leader in Council Kota Srinivas Poojary said under MGNREGA, the Union government disposes of all pending bills within three months.

“The Congress is accusing the Union government unnecessarily and are giving false information to the people. We will present the right information to the people,” he said. 

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